Nancy Lynn Jarvis has been a Santa Cruz, California, Realtor for twenty years. She owns a real estate company with her husband, Craig.
After earning a BA in behavioral science from San Jose State University, she worked in the advertising department of the San Jose Mercury News. A move to Santa Cruz meant a new job as a librarian and later a stint as the business manager of Shakespeare/Santa Cruz.
Nancy’s work history reflects her philosophy: people should try something radically different every few years. Writing is her newest adventure.
She invites you to take a peek into the real estate world through the stories that form the backdrop of her Regan McHenry mysteries. Details and ideas come from Nancy’s own experiences.
If you’re one of her clients or colleagues, read carefully – you may find characters in her books who seem familiar. You may know the people who inspired them – you may even see yourself in print.
Can a house be haunted by its past?
Writing The Murder House was especially fun for me because the book is about a house — every community seems to have one — that is rumored to be haunted. I had a great time playing with protagonist Regan McHenry’s ambivalence about whether or not she believes in ghosts.
As an added complication for her, the story is set in Santa Cruz, California and Regan is a Realtor. Never mind her own beliefs; California is a highly litigious state. Deciding what to do about the reported ghost sightings becomes a matter of ethics for her. The Murder House, as it is called by locals, certainly has a history of murder and mayhem, but can it really be haunted by more than its past?
During my time as a Realtor, I remember walking into a house and having to leave at once. I felt a cold presence I could only describe as pure evil; no way was I going to show the house to clients. Other Realtors have told me about having experienced similar phenomena.
While writing, I started asking people if they believed in ghosts. The answers I got were fascinating. Believer or skeptic, almost everyone reported having had some sort of interaction with what they called a ghost or a presence.
I’ve had my own experiences with “something.” The first was seeing a blue ball of light moving rapidly through the woods outside of The Wayside Inn in Massachusetts. It wasn’t until I read the pamphlet they distributed describing ghost sightings at the Inn that I discovered my blue glowing globe was one of the alleged ghosts spotted by many visitors.
Years ago my then six-year-old son and his friend talked about Georgie, the ghost in their play space in the attic. I assumed they were influenced by Robert Bright’s children’s book Georgie the Ghost which I had recently read to them. I thought no more of Georgie until I sold the house years later and the house inspector said some frayed electrical wires were touching flammable material. He said by rights the wires should have started a fire.
The inspector told me he had seen a mustachioed man in the attic who he dubbed our fire-preventing guardian spirit. I was intrigued and couldn’t resist asking my then grown son if he remembered Georgie. “You mean the guy with the big mustache who lives in the attic?” he asked.
I used the blue ball of light in The Murder House and used my favorite ghost story in the book’s dedication. You can read it if you like by going to Amazon and using the “look inside” tool on the book’s page. If you happen to buy the book after that, the book’s ghosts thank you…that is if you believe in them.